If you’re visiting Zagreb soon, you’ve come to the right place. After reading this guide, you’ll know which area to stay in, where to find the best restaurants and how to get around this bustling capital city in Croatia.
What to expect in Zagreb
Although you don’t need to spend a long time in Zagreb, it’s certainly worth some of your time. It’s a capital city that is rich in history, museums and great places to eat.
The Upper and Lower Town of the city boasts colourful and narrow streets that lead onto extravagant plazas and churches. Couple this with Croatia’s spectacular cafe culture and you’ll quickly feel a part of this city.
Is Zagreb worth visiting?
As well as offering lots of things to do within Zagreb, it’s a good jumping-off point. From here you can take day trips to Plitvice National Park, and even Slovenia.
Zagreb may feel a bit busier than some of the other cities in Croatia, but this busyness is created by locals rather than tourists. Here you can see what daily life is really like in Croatia.
It’s also the only place to ride the shortest public railroad in the world – Zagreb’s funicular.
How long should you spend in Zagreb?
There are enough things to do in Zagreb to keep you busy for days.
However, Croatia has a lot to offer. Think of stunning beaches, islands and world-famous cities. It would be a shame to miss out on the other beautiful destinations while visiting Croatia.
That’s also one of the main reasons why a lot of visitors don’t spend too much time in the capital city. There is just too much to see in Croatia.
We recommend spending about 2-3 days in Zagreb, but it all depends on how long your holiday is.
To help you make the most of your time in the capital city of Croatia, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Zagreb.
Where to stay in Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and has many neighbourhoods that you can stay in, each of them offering something different to the next.
If you’re looking to explore the main sites, there are 3 great areas that we recommend:
Location #1: Lower Town — the best place for first-timers
Lower Town may be the best place to stay if it’s your first time in Zagreb. The district offers an eclectic mix of modern and old. Lower Town is the commercial centre of Zagreb and the place where you’ll find its shopping street.
There is lots of open space and plenty of parks to escape the city feel if you need to. It’s still brimming with history and could be considered the cultural epicentre of Zagreb.
Accommodation in Lower Town
This is where you’ll find most of Zagreb’s hotels. Another reason why Lower Town is the best place to stay for first-timers. You have plenty of choices when it comes to where to stay.
Private room prices start at around €30 per night.
Location #2: Upper Town — the historical hub of the city
Upper Town is where most tourists will spend their time. Also known as Old Town, it’s the historic centre of Zagreb. This is where the narrow cobblestone streets and historic sites can be found.
It’s also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Zagreb. At night those iconic cobblestone streets come to life as the abundance of bars start to fill up.
Accommodation in Upper Town
Because it’s the historical centre of Zagreb, there are fewer residential apartments and hotels here. This can make finding a place to stay in Upper Town harder or a bit more expensive.
Private rooms start at around €35 per night.
Location #3: Kaptol — the religious centre of Zagreb
Kaptol is a subsection of the Upper Town, found slightly to the north. This neighbourhood is the religious centre of Zagreb and where you’ll find the famous Zagreb Cathedral.
In this area, you’ll come across plenty of museums, art galleries and cafes. The best thing is that you’re only a few minutes from the main attractions but at a lower price than in the Upper Town.
Accommodation in Kaptol
Kaptol is slightly more commercial than Upper Town which means there are more apartment-style accommodations.
There are also more places to stay here, which makes it a cheaper area to stay in. Here you can find plenty of hotels, hostels, Airbnbs and apartments.
Similar to Lower Town, a private room starts here at around €30 per night.
Best places to eat in Zagreb
Zagreb is a capital city that is flourishing with cuisines and exciting flavours. As well as traditional Croatian food, you can find dishes from all over the world.
There are places for every budget too. From quick bites to fine dining.
With so many places to pick from, here are our 3 unmissable spots to eat in Zagreb:
Noel — the only Michelin Star restaurant in Zagreb
Noel is Zagreb’s only Michelin Star restaurant. If you’re looking for some incredible, fine-dining food, then this is the place to go. Noel offers two 6-course menus, one vegetarian and the other titled ‘The Chef Experience’.
The restaurant serves a brilliant combination of traditional Croatian cuisine and modern flavours. All of this is done with local and seasonal ingredients. It comes at a price, but it’s completely worth the experience.
Soi Fusion — the best Asian food in Zagreb
You may not have come to Croatia for Asian food, but Soi Fusion is somewhere you have to try before you leave Zagreb. Serving dishes from all over Asia, you’ll find gyozas, ramen, curries, poke and buns on the menu.
After one visit you will want to come back for more. The ambience is fantastic and the prices are affordable.
La Štruk — try the traditional Croatian dish that is Štrukli
Following on with something a little more Croatian. La Štruk serves only the traditional Croatian dish, Štrukli. It’s a dish mainly found in Hrvatsko Zagorje and Zagreb, so where better to try it?
Štrukli is made from a special dough that is either boiled or baked. Inside there’s a delicious helping of cheese and other fillings. This is definitely the place to get a traditional taste of Croatia.
How to get around in Zagreb
Zagreb has an extensive and efficient transport system, making it an easy city to explore. There are plenty of options, all of which are cheap to use.
Here are your ways to get around Zagreb:
Zagreb is very much a pedestrianised city, especially the centre. You’ll find that Lower and Upper Town are free of cars and perfect for walking through.
You may need transportation to connect you to the different areas. Although the walk between Upper and Lower Town is only 20 minutes.
Once you’re in the centre, your own two feet are all that you’ll need.
Zagreb’s tram system has been operating since 1891. However, back in the day, they looked slightly different. The iconic blue trams were pulled by horses.
In 1920, Zagreb got its first electric trams. Nowadays,15 tram lines are coveringg over 117 km.
The trams add to the charm of the city, whilst being an efficient way to get around. All trams are marked by a number on the front, rear and side of the tram, so they’re easy to use and impossible to miss!
Buying a tram ticket in Zagreb
To make it easier, the ticket system is the same for the tram, bus and funicular.
You’ve got lots of options when it comes to buying a ticket:
- One-way ticket: 4 KN (€0.50) – 10 KN (€1.30) – valid for 30-90 minutes. These can be bought on the tram or from a ticket kiosk.
- Day ticket: 30 KN (€4.00)
- 3-day ticket: 70 KN (€9.00)
- 7-day ticket: 150 KN (€20.00)
Just like the tram lines, Zagreb also isn’t short on bus lines. They have 134! That means you can get pretty much where you want whilst using the bus.
The ticket system ly the same as for the tram which we explained above.
There are plenty of taxis roaming around Zagreb. Luckily for us, a few years ago the number of taxi licences available increased.
This increased competition and reduced prices. The average rate is around 6 KN (€0.80) per kilometre for traditional taxis.
Bolt holds the crown for the cheapest rate, so we would recommend using them.
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Zagreb. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in Zagreb. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in Zagreb.
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